Saturday Night Live announced that it would cancel its live audience for the December 18 taping and those in the future. It will also limit the cast and crew working on the show due to concerns over the Omicron variant.
Due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience for tonight’s taping of Saturday Night Live, and the show will have limited cast and crew. The show continues to follow all government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol.”
December 18’s taping of the show was set to be the last episode of the year. It was set to feature Paul Rudd as a host, and feature musical guest Charli XCX. Instead, neither guest will be appearing on the show due to the limited crew.
New York and the Saturday Night Live Coronavirus Spike
This follows the most recent news about the pandemic in New York. The state recently reported a record ‘winter surge’ of 21,027 new coronavirus cases since the start of December. On top of the recent surge, a set insider for Saturday Night Live revealed that “four actors” have tested positive for coronavirus. The “three others” have called out because they were fearful about coming to the studio.
SNL is not the first nor the last performance affected by the surge of the Omicron variant. The Radio City Rockettes‘ “Christmas Spectacular” canceled all future 2021 shows and said that those holding tickets would be refunded. Other Broadway shows also canceled their upcoming performances.
This is the second time that the show has canceled live audiences. The first time follows Saturday Night Live canceling in the spring of 2020, in which they opted to film episodes remotely from cast members’ homes. They soon resumed in-studio recording in late 2020.
At the moment, it is still unclear what the format will be for December 18’s SNL episode and those in the future considering the Omicron audience shutdown.